Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
It’s probably the biggest challenge teachers will ever face in their career. The hybrid model that many schools are adopting has even veterans feeling like first-year teachers all over again.
Considering how unpredictable the current situation is, it’s very possible that all teachers will have to teach a hybrid classroom at some point or another.
This could mean teaching some groups of students two days each week in the classroom, or it could mean (in the worst of cases!) teaching students simultaneously online and face-to-face.
Whatever model your school chooses to follow, it’s important to remember that it is possible to find a rhythm that works for you. Here are some of our tips for how to manage a hybrid classroom that is responsive to you and your students’ needs.
Create a clear routine for students
Routines are important whether you're in or outside the classroom. During these uncertain times, it can be calming for your students to have a predictable and dependable format to follow in class.
Make sure you have a home base where students can access assignments and lessons. You can use your LMS or create a similar digital classroom set-up using Google Slides. If students know where to find instructions and how to complete assigned tasks every time, you'll get a lot fewer emails asking for help.
You should also decide when and how students can talk to you and ask questions. Consider setting up virtual office hours or using in-person time for checking in individually with students.
When thinking about assigning deadlines, be flexible but also realistic. Avoid a logistical nightmare and assign all of your students (whether remote or in-person) the same due dates for the same work.
All in all, be consistent and try to simplify procedures whenever possible. Not only will your students appreciate the structure, but you will create an order by which to guide your planning and save time.
Choose your edtech tools wisely
Do you ever feel like there’s always another new edtech tool you’re hearing about? While these tools might be clever and useful, don’t feel pressured to learn every new thing now.
This is a time when it’s perfectly acceptable to stay within your comfort zone. You’re better off meeting students’ needs with tools that you already know instead of experimenting with ones that you’re not familiar with.
Simplify your planning by sticking to a few edtech tools. Just make sure the application of these tools are content-driven. Focus on educational goals that you want to meet and figure out how a tech tool will help you reach them.
Good edtech should allow students to collaborate, practice, review, and reflect, while also helping you as a teacher give feedback and assess student progress.
The advantage of using the same tools consistently is that you’ll become an expert over time and come up with new and different ways to use them. In the case of edtech, less is totally more!
Make your own video lessons
Too many teachers think that hybrid teaching means you have to plan two different lessons. If there’s anything you want to avoid during this stressful time, it’s giving yourself even more work!
It’s best to keep work for remote students as close as possible to the work in-person students are doing. The easiest way to do this is by creating your own instructional videos and assigning them to all your students.
Want to record yourself going over a slides presentation? Create a screen-recording directly from your computer.
If you feel like you need a more dynamic option to display your content, make digital whiteboard videos that make your students feel like they’re back in the classroom.
When your content is online and in video format, there will be less confusion about what students need to do and you’ll be able to better keep track of where you are in the curriculum. It also helps your remote students feel like they're still part of the class because they're doing the exact same things your in-person students are.
If you’re students are only coming into class some days of the week, consider adopting a flipped classroom model where students watch instructional videos before coming to class. That helps keep in-person class time as an opportunity for student collaboration, individual support, and hands-on projects.
Worried not every student will come to class having watched and understood the video? That’s where Edpuzzle is there to help you out.
Once you create your video, you can upload it to Edpuzzle to make your most engaging video lesson yet. In Edpuzzle you can embed questions to assess which students have mastered the content and figure out what topics you need to cover next. Planning personalized lessons has never been easier!
Establish a self-paced learning environment
When you start making your own video lessons, you open up a world of opportunities for shaking up your teaching. A hybrid schedule can be the perfect time to teach your students to be self-regulated learners.
In a self-paced classroom, like the one designed by the Modern Classrooms Project organization, students learn at their own pace by watching instructional videos and move on to the next subject only when they’ve showed mastery.
Getting rid of lectures (whether in-person or remotely) lets you as the educator engage more with individual students. Whether you pull students into small groups in person or check in on them through Zoom, students will see that you are still available to support them emotionally and academically.
Having all of your content in video format will also help any sick or absent students catch up when they can. No one will get left behind because it’s expected that students will be working on different lessons.
Interested in running a classroom where students set their own pace? We’ve partnered with the Modern Classrooms Project to offer a free Self-Paced Classroom course on Edpuzzle. Check out and see how easy it is to transition video lessons to a self-paced learning environment!
Blended learning models, like Catlin Tucker's station rotation model, also give students more control over the time, place, pace, and/or path of their learning, and make students’ transition from working online to offline seamless.
Although your students wouldn’t physically move between stations like in the normal model, they could still progress through a series of activities that are teacher-led, independent, or collaborative. Video-conferencing platforms like Zoom can help you and your remote and in-person students connect and work together from your respective locations.
In a self-paced environment, you’ll feel less like you are teaching two groups of students if your lessons are designed ahead of time to work for both remote or in-person learners.
Although the need for hybrid teaching will hopefully not be around forever, it shouldn't stop you from exploring new tools and teaching models that you can incorporate into your classroom in the long-term.